10 Walkabout

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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cc99999
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Re: 10 Walkabout

#76 Post by cc99999 » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:24 am

This and Picnic at Hanging Rock deserve blu ray releases. For me, this is the more interesting of the two films. I particularly find the ambiguity of the ending mystical. Was the entire film a memory flashback of an adventurous coming of age experience, culminating in the not quite virginal beauty of the bathing scene and the death of her aboriginal first love? Or is this what I, as a viewer, wanted for the character- putting forth my own reverence for the past, youth, and ghosts.

On a better HD screen Walkabout shines, feels very filmic, and is saturated in brilliant colors. It's as beautiful as any film on HD, and in its own way from a subject matter standpoint, quite unique.

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Venom
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Re: 10 Walkabout

#77 Post by Venom » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:44 am

Watched this today (yes I spent a day of American tradition with a film about an Australian/Aboriginal custom). I had heard the original release had a scene missing, I think it was when the native boy meets the woman in the pink dress without telling the others and we see that she goes back to a settlement. Is this right?

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#78 Post by Person » Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:16 am

Venom wrote:Watched this today (yes I spent a day of American tradition with a film about an Australian/Aboriginal custom). I had heard the original release had a scene missing, I think it was when the native boy meets the woman in the pink dress without telling the others and we see that she goes back to a settlement. Is this right?
Where did you hear of this?

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Venom
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Re: 10 Walkabout

#79 Post by Venom » Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:36 pm

Person wrote:
Venom wrote:Watched this today (yes I spent a day of American tradition with a film about an Australian/Aboriginal custom). I had heard the original release had a scene missing, I think it was when the native boy meets the woman in the pink dress without telling the others and we see that she goes back to a settlement. Is this right?
Where did you hear of this?
Ok found it, it's in a book I have, TV Guide Film & Video Companion (2002). It said "A restored version of the film was released in the United States in 1997, containing a scene that had been lost from American prints for years. The aborigine, momentarily separated from the boy and girl, is approached by a white woman. He rebuffs her advances, and she returns to her nearby home, where she lies in bed alone as her husband teaches aborigine children to paint. The scene adds a new dimension to the aborigine, proof that he knew all along that civilization was near, but chose not to bring the boy and girl there."

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zedz
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Re: 10 Walkabout

#80 Post by zedz » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:45 pm

Yeah, that scene (which I find one of Walkabout's weaker links) was not in the film the first few times I saw it. I caught a print in London in the mid-90s or so and was surprised to discover it. Next time I saw the film, it was gone again, but it seems to be back for good now.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#81 Post by giovannii84 » Wed May 16, 2012 3:43 am

The Australian DVD release has 2 trailers on it. A short trailer which runs 30 secs, and a long trailer which runs ~4mins. Could someone please confirm if both trailers are on the Criterion disc, or just one of them?

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#82 Post by cdnchris » Wed May 16, 2012 11:54 am

giovannii84 wrote:The Australian DVD release has 2 trailers on it. A short trailer which runs 30 secs, and a long trailer which runs ~4mins. Could someone please confirm if both trailers are on the Criterion disc, or just one of them?
The new DVD and Blu-ray only have the longer trailer. The old DVD released in 1998 has both. Not sure why they didn't carry over the short one to the new edition.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#83 Post by AnamorphicWidescreen » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:18 pm

Truly enjoyed Walkabout on my recent re-watch; excellent film, and does a stellar job of illustrating the extreme differences between the urban city life of Australia & the harsh/foreboding desert - quite a contrast, especially considering how relatively close they seemed to be (never been to Australia, however).

The sudden
SpoilerShow
violence when the father went crazy & tried to take out his two children & then took himself out was quite horrible & unexpected; I thought it was quite touching how the young woman tried to shield her smaller brother from what the father had done...
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Also, the aborigine unexpectedly hanging himself was quite jarring/horrific the first time I saw the film...it's evident he did this because the young woman rejected him....
Liked the continuity of having the young woman's apartment complex (where she lived with her parents in the beginning of the film) be the same place where you saw her at the end, older & married - actually, it appeared to be the exact same apartment...

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#84 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:03 am

Watching the film again last night, I still find myself surprised at how dark it is, and yet the way that in my memory the film keeps falling away into the more idyllic images before another viewing reminds me of all of the near deaths, the real deaths, the tragic miscommunication both conscious and unconscious (the brick walls) and the clash between twoworlds, both hostile to life in their own way, driving people into despair or passivity. Yet often that fades into the images of being guided through the wilderness, and of course the swimming, both lyrically underscored with a sense of paradise lost.

I really think Jenny Agutter should have sued her private school once she got back to civilisation for not giving her any knowledge of the world, for all of her "I don't know" responses to her brother's questions! Though it seems she learns the most from the radio, which seems a bad teacher with all of its useless etiquette lessons! On this viewing I did note that description of the cruel practice of raising and then drowning the Ortolan in cognac that the mother is listening to in the family kitchen with the final ironic line "but vinegar is a suitable substitute!". Why go to all of that trouble to raise a bird to be fat and blind and then cheap out on what you drown it in! That's perhaps even more of a final insult to the bird itself! That perhaps fits in with the later scenes of cut-price short term manufacture and industry, encouraging a dependence then uncomprehendingly betraying as you move on to the next thing.

On that note, what happens to the mother anyway? In the final scene Agutter has replaced her (years later?) in the same kitchen with a new husband. A husband who seems to work in the same place as her driven to suicide father did.

I sometimes wonder if both the girl and her brother died there under that dried up watering hole and the aborigine guide and return to civilisation is part of a last fantasy of a dying mind.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#85 Post by ellipsis7 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:35 am

The round office tower where the father works & sits outside in Sydney is the landmark Australia Square designed by Austrian Jewish emigre architect, Harry Seidler, finished in 1967 and the tallest building in the city till it was topped in 1976.......

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#86 Post by AnamorphicWidescreen » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:26 am

colinr0380 wrote:On that note, what happens to the mother anyway? In the final scene Agutter has replaced her (years later?) in the same kitchen with a new husband. A husband who seems to work in the same place as her driven to suicide father did.

I sometimes wonder if both the girl and her brother died there under that dried up watering hole and the aborigine guide and return to civilisation is part of a last fantasy of a dying mind.
Good question about the mother. I guess I always felt that when the JA character got married, the mother & brother moved out. I don't think the marriage was supposed to take place that long after JA finished high school, since they didn't try to age her in any way.

I never thought the ending of this film, i.e. the scenes of JA with her husband, etc. were supposed to be a fantasy in any way, though I do agree that the ending scenes were somewhat abrupt, i.e. they cut right to the husband/married life scenes without any kind of transition....

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#87 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:50 am

I'm more thinking that everything from the fortuitous appearance of the aborigine boy would be the fantasy.

Having said that, I lean more twards the straightforward approach too rather than that they died at the watering hole. Though it is fascinating to think about. Which would be the more devastating? The scathing indictment of Western world notions of progress, exploiting then moving on with only a brief hint of nostalgia (not exactly the same as regret)? Or someone so socialised that even her dying notions of freedom, sexual feelings and a return to nature have to be recomposed into something 'more suitable', that brings her fully back into the arms of the civilisation that abandoned and tried to kill her? That even in her head she isn't truly unburdened by cultural baggage.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#88 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:22 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I'm more thinking that everything from the fortuitous appearance of the aborigine boy would be the fantasy.

Having said that, I lean more twards the straightforward approach too rather than that they died at the watering hole. Though it is fascinating to think about. Which would be the more devastating? The scathing indictment of Western world notions of progress, exploiting then moving on with only a brief hint of nostalgia (not exactly the same as regret)? Or someone so socialised that even her dying notions of freedom, sexual feelings and a return to nature have to be recomposed into something 'more suitable', that brings her fully back into the arms of the civilisation that abandoned and tried to kill her? That even in her head she isn't truly unburdened by cultural baggage.
I lean more towards the straightforward approach as well. The death dream theory now seems to get applied to nearly every film which has something inexplicable or mystical happening. Isn't it enough that she "dies inside" by the end.

I love this film, but by now find the end overstates its point in a slightly hippie hectoring way.
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I would have preferred it if the boy just disappeared at the end. Him hanging himself is too melodramatic for my taste and too chunkily symbolic.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#89 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 12:24 pm

I wouldn't though want to lose the brief moment of the girl brushing the ants from his chest (the second brief moment of contact) before leaving, as if she was trying to straighten up a non-existent collar and make him presentable!

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Lost Highway
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Re: 10 Walkabout

#90 Post by Lost Highway » Wed Jul 01, 2015 6:41 pm

"Clunkily" rather than "chunkily". Darn you, iPad autocorrect !

Yes, that moment with the ants is touching.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#91 Post by GaryC » Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:12 am

I'll watch the film off BBC Iplayer before it goes (i.e. by Monday). I haven't seen it in more than ten years and not before in HD if you don't count one viewing in 35mm in the 1980s. This was the second Australian film I ever saw, on its second TV broadcast in January 1979, when I was fourteen. My Mum and I stayed up to watch it, on a school night...
AnamorphicWidescreen wrote:Good question about the mother. I guess I always felt that when the JA character got married, the mother & brother moved out. I don't think the marriage was supposed to take place that long after JA finished high school, since they didn't try to age her in any way.
Up to a point. JA has makeup on in that scene with her husband, so I always took it that she was older, maybe early to mid twenties? JA was 16/17 when she made the film. I also always read the flashback at the very end of her, her brother and the aborigine sitting naked by the pool as a romanticised memory.

Incidentally, only Agutter, Luc Roeg and David Gulpilil get character names in the end credits of the film itself - most credits lists aren't complete as to what's on screen, though the IMDB credits are accurate. However, given that there are obviously quite a few uncredited people appearing on screen, there are some people credited where I'm not sure who they are. Does anyone know which one is Peter Carver (usually listed as "No Hoper")? Is he one of the scientists - there are more than three? He's also in The Sundowners and the 1950s BBC production of Quatermass II, but it's been a while since I saw either and I'm not sure what he looks like. (He was clearly one of several Australian actors working in the UK in the 50s and 60s for better opportunities at the time.) Hilary Bamberger is I think the woman the aborigine meets when separated from the girl and boy. (Her only other film is Inn of the Damned, which I have seen a while ago and it's awful, so again not entirely sure what she looks like.) I think I know which character is played by Robert McDarra - I've seen other films of his (though not his award-winning performance in 27A) so can check on that one.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#92 Post by GaryC » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:27 am

I did rewatch Walkabout, in HD on BBC Iplayer, on Friday, so here are some thoughts.

I still have the straightforward interpretation of the ending, and see the final flashback to the girl, her brother and the aborigine (or "White Boy" and "Black Boy" as they are credited) swimming naked by the pool as the now older girl's romanticised memory of what was certainly an ordeal at times. The voiceover reading from "A Shropshire Lad" adds to this.

As to where the mother went to, I don't know - and I'm not sure of the genetics of two dark-haired parents producing a fair-haired son. Adding to the theme of "civilisation" in the face of nature, note that the girl refers to her and her brother as English and not (white) Australian, so from a culture which has imposed itself on a land which, pre-Mabo, was regarded as terra nullius - partly I guess because Agutter and Luc Roeg are speaking in their native English accents. Presumably to match this, John Meillon (an Australian and a native Sydneysider) speaks his lines in English RP or something quite close to it, an accent he no doubt learned to do when working in England - he was another Australian actor working there in the 60s because of the greater opportunities at the time. Though why the girl says they need to get back to Adelaide when it's clear from the opening scenes that they live in Sydney is another question.

I also hadn't noticed before that the film takes place in November: one of the radio broadcasts the girl and boy listen to refers to today being Armistice Day. That may have been a live broadcast as the film was shot between August and December 1969.

When the girl is unpacking the car for the picnic with her brother and father Roeg shoots a close-up of her bottom in a short school skirt, a shot intercut with the father in his car, a hint that he may be harbouring incestuous desires. Shortly afterwards, she bends down (shot from the front) and her father looks at her and she looks sternly back at him. Is she aware that his intentions are not healthy, or can she sense that he's about to go off the deep end? She doesn't seem as surprised as she might be by his subsequent actions, though her first instinct is to protect her brother. If so, this is a film where the girl twice rebuffs culturally taboo attraction from men...who then go and kill themselves. Having said that, she is certainly tempted by the aborigine and certainly isn't by her father.

Regarding the credited acting roles, there are many more people on screen than receive credits, though that may just reflect those who have speaking roles (unlike the mother, for example). Having done a little checking (including the clips from 27A on the Australian Screen website) Robert McDarra (spelled "McDara" in the credits) is the man in a yellow shirt and cork hat who appears about an hour in, the husband of the depressed-looking woman (who I think is Hilary Bamberger) who greets the aborigine with a "How's it going?" and briefly glimpses the girl and her brother in the distance. McDarra is supervising a group of Aborigine children who are making what look like tourist souvenirs, and he smears white paint on the chest of one of them. I believe this scene was removed for the film's first US release, which may explain why most printed credits lists leave out McDarra and Bamberger. There are six people in the scenes with the scientists, but only three credited. I believe Peter Carver is the mining-town employee the girl and her brother meet towards the end of the film. John Illingsworth, who plays the girl's husband, was a member of the camera crew.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#93 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:38 am

GaryC wrote:and I'm not sure of the genetics of two dark-haired parents producing a fair-haired son
It's very possible. If both parents have the light-haired gene, they can produce offspring with light hair without having light hair themselves.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#94 Post by DannyDaCat » Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:49 pm

Does anyone know why there is a "Second Printing" of Walkabout? I can't seem to find anything out about it, most other releases that needed Second Printings have plenty of info (like Dressed to Kill, Eraserhead, Three Colors White, Carlos). People who had returned their copy for the Bronzing issue got a copy back that said "Second Printing". According to Mulvaney they only title discs with that when they have had changes made to the master itself, and the disc bronzing issue wouldn't constitute as such a change which explains why the other bronzing discs don't have that "Second Printing" tag, but no reasoning behind Walkabout.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#95 Post by MichaelB » Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:56 am

Mr Sausage wrote:
GaryC wrote:and I'm not sure of the genetics of two dark-haired parents producing a fair-haired son
It's very possible. If both parents have the light-haired gene, they can produce offspring with light hair without having light hair themselves.
My extended family has a fair number of redheads whose parents have dark hair. Given our Irish ancestral roots, we're clearly all riddled with the ginger gene - in fact, I myself have a red-headed daughter.

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Re: 10 Walkabout

#96 Post by PfR73 » Sun Aug 16, 2015 10:58 pm

DannyDaCat wrote:Does anyone know why there is a "Second Printing" of Walkabout? I can't seem to find anything out about it, most other releases that needed Second Printings have plenty of info (like Dressed to Kill, Eraserhead, Three Colors White, Carlos). People who had returned their copy for the Bronzing issue got a copy back that said "Second Printing". According to Mulvaney they only title discs with that when they have had changes made to the master itself, and the disc bronzing issue wouldn't constitute as such a change which explains why the other bronzing discs don't have that "Second Printing" tag, but no reasoning behind Walkabout.

Thanks in advance!
Walkabout had a freezing problem reported soon after the discs were issued. Criterion instituted a replacement program. This was before the bronzing issue ever came about. My original copy played fine in 2010, but when I watched it again in 2013, it had the freezing problem & I had to get it replaced even though it had not bronzed.


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